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 Over the years, Highlights has been honored to share the incredible stories of breast cancer warriors across the City of San Antonio. The strength and resilience of these women is inspirational. Many of them have committed their time and energy to establishing organizations to help other women who have been diagnosed and are also battling breast cancer. If you or someone you know is in need of emotional or financial support or would like to connect with a sisterhood filled with women who can uplift, inspire and most importantly, relate, we encourage you to check out one of the local organizations below. Stay strong, our prayers are with you always!
Mari Strong: One Woman’s Battle Against Breast Cancer
BMy A l i s s a R e i n h a r d
ari Gomez had just turned 44
when she found that out she
had breast cancer.
“It was a Friday and I was at work,” Mari
said. “My doctor called and told me that it was breast cancer and I was just in total shock. I was totally silent. I was trying to grasp what she was telling me, but I couldn’t even talk.”
The youngest of ten children, Mari had no history of breast cancer in her family. Physically, she felt amazing. She was active and in shape, making the diagnosis that much more difficult to believe. However, she was able to quickly shift her focus. What was next? What did she have to do to beat it?
Mari met with her oncologist that very same day. She underwent testing, bloodwork and scans and her doctors worked together to formulate a treatment plan. They determined Mari’s cancer was Stage 3, but curable.
“They wanted to schedule my surgery for the next week, but I hadn’t processed what was happening,” said Mari. “I hadn’t even told my son or my parents. I needed to decide what was best for me and my family.”
Mari turned to her faith and prayed for direction. She decided to have a double
mastectomy.
“I didn’t want to have that fear or thought
in the back of my mind that 10 years down the road the cancer might come back and I would have to do this all over again,” she explained.
In a show of support, Mari’s family filled the waiting room during her surgery. She had so many people in her corner, cheering her on, lifting her up, praying for her recovery.
“My family was my biggest support, they were amazing,” said Mari.
After her surgery, Mari’s doctors found cancer on the skin surrounding her nipple. It was determined that she would need a second surgery.
“When I found out, I was depleted,” said Mari. “I just wanted to go home and go to bed. But after the second surgery, when my doctor told me the cancer was gone...that there was no more cancer in me, I remember telling my husband that I felt like I had won the lottery. And he told me that I had. I had won the lottery of life. I remember that so clearly. There’s no other way to describe it.”
During Mari’s breast cancer journey, she underwent a total of six surgeries, including painful reconstruction that entailed the removal of muscles from her back. Despite
the incredible discomfort, Mari always put on a brave face. She never let others know how much she was truly suffering.
“I understand why God chose me to go through this,” said Mari. “It’s because he knew I could endure. He knew that I would make it.”
Although Mari had the full support and assistance of her friends and family while fighting breast cancer, she still had to overcome certain challenges that only others who had been through the same ordeal could understand. Along with her husband, Daniel, Mari decided to start a nonprofit organization called The Mari Strong Foundation to help support women who are battling breast cancer and other afflictions. On October 10, Mari Strong will host its 2nd Annual “Finding Your Inner Beauty Women’s Conference,” an opportunity for women to be inspired and empowered.
“It was really an idea that God had put on Daniel’s heart,” she explained. “Mari Strong is for any woman who needs encouragement and support or connection.”
It’s been three year’s since Mari’s diagnosis. She hopes more than anything that her story encourages other women to persevere, rely on their faith, and never
day. After the test, the radiologist wanted to see me and they never want to see you, so I knew that wasn’t good news. He set up a biopsy for the next day and said he would contact my doctor and the result would be back in 5 days. My doctor called 3 days later wanting to see me and my husband.
The results came back that I had stage 1 cancer. I was scheduled to see a surgeon a few weeks later and had a lumpectomy on my older daughter’s birthday. Everything went well. I had 6 rounds of chemo. We were still able to take our planned trip to Disney World with both daughters and little granddaughters over Thanksgiving. I didn’t make it to the Christmas Eve service because I was too weak from the last chemo treatment. And I was a crying mess, that’s my favorite service! I started my 45 radiation treatments in January of 2012. We went to Hawaii that May to celebrate the end of my treatment and that I had hair again!
This was nothing I planned, but God was with me the whole way. He provided me with a loving and caring husband and family. I had great support from my church family. He gave me all the help I needed and more. I just had to accept it. I have been cancer free now for 9 years and I give God all the thanks and glory.
As a side story, our family found out in September 2014, that my mother had breast cancer too. She was 84 years old
Mari Gomez
stop fighting. For more information about the Mari Foundation, visit maristrongfoundation.com.
Frona McGuire
and decided years earlier she was too old to continue with mammograms. That was a big mistake! Women are never too old. The cancer had spread to other parts of her body and she died 2 days after Christmas of 2014. She was a devoted Christian and a wonderful wife, mother, grandmother and great grandmother. She is still missed.
Breast Cancer - continued on page 10 October 2020
     Continue To Fight & Never Give Up
Norma Price
to a cancer society.... When I am told of a cancer fight, I give them a heartfelt piece in remembrance of their fight! We must all give back and pay it forward. We, as survivors must continue to fight and never give up!
Visit trinketsbynorma.com
  y Norma Price
BM
  y name is Norma Price. In 2015, I was diagnosed with Stage 4 Breast Cancer. It was a
devastating blow and I did not know how I was going to deal with this.
I went through 6 months of chemo and radiation, but I also did my due diligence of changing my eating habits and doing whatever I could to save my life.
Between 2016 and 2019, I was told twice that my cancer had metastasized. But they were incorrect. I had to do something to keep my mind busy as it would have driven me to the point of insanity! I started creating jewelry, asking all of my friends to send me all of their discarded jewelry that they didn’t want. I, then began to take apart, add to, re dip and repurpose all of these pieces and turn them into beautiful one of a kind pieces. Hence Trinkets By Norma was born!
I am now just beginning to sell my pieces and will be donating part of my proceeds
    Cancer Free For 9 Years- I Give God All
y Frona McGuire BMybattlewithbreastcancerbegan
GYN. I found a lump in my right breast. He confirmed, yes it was a lump and schedule a mammogram and sonogram for the next
The Thanks & Glory
  in May 2011- a week before my regular scheduled visit with my
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